Multiple Pretransplant Treatments for Patients Without Pathological Complete Response may Worsen Posttransplant Outcomes in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Annals of surgical oncology


BACKGROUND: Liver transplant (LT) candidates with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) often receive cancer treatment before transplant. We investigated the impact of pre-transplant treatment for HCC on the risk of posttransplant recurrence.

METHODS: Adult HCC patients with LT at our institution between 2013 and 2020 were included. The impact of pre-LT cancer treatments on the cumulative recurrence was evaluated, using the Gray and Fine-Gray methods adjusted for confounding factors. Outcomes were considered in two ways: 1) by pathologically complete response (pCR) status within patients received pre-LT treatment; and 2) within patients without pCR, grouped by pre-LT treatment as A) none; B) one treatment; C) multiple treatments.

RESULTS: The sample included 179 patients, of whom 151 (84%) received pretreatment and 42 (28% of treated) demonstrated pCR. Overall, 22 (12%) patients experienced recurrence. The 5-year cumulative post-LT recurrence rate was significantly lower in patients with pCR than those without pCR (4.8% vs. 19.2%, P = 0.03). In bivariable analyses, pCR significantly decreased risk of recurrence. Among the 137 patients without pCR (viable HCC in the explant), 28 (20%) had no pretreatment (A), 70 (52%) had one treatment (B), and 39 (20%) had multiple treatments (C). Patients in Group C had higher 5-year recurrence rates than those in A or B (39.6% vs. 8.2%, 6.5%, P = 0.004 and P < 0.001, respectively). In bivariable analyses, multiple treatments was significantly associated with recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS: pCR is a favorable prognostic factor after LT. When pCR was not achieved by pre-LT treatment, the number of treatments might be associated with post-LT oncological prognosis.

Medical Subject Headings

Transplant and Abdominal Surgery

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ePub ahead of print